I am in the mood for doing some oldschool existential philosophy and I hereby define a new brand of it: inertialism.
First, let me make it clear that inertialism is a kind of philosophy in the way existentialism is a philosophy; it’s not a grand philosophical system (with its ontology, epistemology, ethics, etc.) but a way of looking at one’s own life and acting, at the level of the individual.
Second, inertial philosophy is not to be confused with classical psychological inertia – a simple resistance to change. An inertialist can make changes, and big ones at that. However, he can do so with a feeling that whatever new state comes with the change will be the one that lasts forever – until he dies, that is. Large and small, his every move is another modification of the current state, which would supposedly last forever. In the end, he’s not completely static, and may not even be resistant to change. The difference lies in his mind and intentions, in that he does think that whatever state he is in, he is in it for good. Inertialism is a state of mind, a way of perceiving and constructing one’s own actions rather than merely a pattern of behavior or a character trait. It can be observed by another person, but only a careful one.
An inertialist would respond to questions like “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” with “Pretty much the same as it is now.” He sees himself – his continuous efforts and choices – always in the process of setting up a constant condition that is worth living (or at least sufferable) for the rest of his life. He has a certain dislike for temporary things, fixes or conditions. He distances himself from fast-changing things like politics, cultural trends or tech gadgets. When he buys something, he imagines having it for the rest of his life. When he discovers a new food that he likes, he sticks with it forever. He starts every relationship with a life-long marriage/friendship in mind. Incidentally, these are all examples showing that the inertialist isn’t simply a person who is static; he is perfectly capable of discovering new things and people. Although, he naturally tends to be very picky at everything since every decision is major for him.
Inertialism can be described as an unwillingness to envision two (or more) consecutive changes; the inertialist plans making only one change at any moment, and once he makes it, the new state becomes his new eternal condition, which can again be changed, once more. (Nevertheless, it is safe to say that too many successive changes will cause anxiety and he can develop resistance in that condition.)
Don’t listen to those who tell you that inertialism isn’t sophisticated enough to be a brand of existential philosophy, or that it’s just an inability to plan for changes! Because deep down, inertialism is a painful way of dealing with one’s own death and making sense of the present condition, by making it as eternal as possible… (Applause.)
And yes, I hereby declare myself as the first self-proclaimed inertialist!
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